Special Interview: Chavez Cartel

#TheAussieWord special interview with Chavez Cartel.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I guess it all began when I started to get off the beaten path and find music for myself rather rely on the radio or what my parents were listening to. The turning point for me was finding Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They really hit the spot for me and got me searching for more ever since. I also remember first hearing Jim Morrisons voice for the first time when I was still a child. I didn’t know exactly what it did to me at the time but in hindsight looking back through an older mind that was the first vocalist that ever sang to my soul. I remember feeling almost embarrassed at the time as I’d never been moved by music that way and I was too young to understand what was going off inside. I would’ve been about 9. So, I guess that was the very start of it all. I was just years away from knowing it. 

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Honestly right now at this stage it’s the hunger to succeed that motivates us and that has driven us so far forward. Our drive really has trickled down to every single note we play. A thing that got said a lot during the making of this EP was that “we won’t be settling on a single bar of music. If it’s not good enough it’s either getting changed or taken out”. And that ethic has stayed with us beyond the EP and the sounds and opportunities that has come out of it is plane to see. 

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish? 

When we started the band the biggest dream we could muster at that point was to be future Glastonbury headliners. That hasn’t changed but we also want to be headlining every festival we can be. The goals are still a long way into the distance but when we look back at where we came from we’re a lot closer that what we were and we’ve travelled a long long way in the right direction. We really just have to keep going and we truly believe we’ll get there. As crazy as that sounds we really do. 

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

I’m actually writing out this interview sat in my seat on the airplane. We’re about to take off from Brisbane airport to start our first ever international tour. We’re doing a 3 week promotional UK tour for the EP. 

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music? 

It’s all rock n roll. Heavy guitars, lyrical, dirty druggy sounds. We wanted to create a cinematic feel so there’s a lot more bigger and wider noise going on with us these days. Grunge/post punk/rock. All the good stuff. 

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

Life in general. Emotions and new experiences. After a long run of touring, we’ll always force ourselves to write new songs. That always happens after exhausting our sets and becoming a little less enthused by the songs we’ve played hundreds of times. The sounds of the news songs bleed into the old ones too. I used to rely on pain a lot write me my songs back when I was a bit more miserable but life’s amazing now so our writing processes stem from much healthier and dare we say possibly even more professional places. We’re on a rich vein of form at the moment and the songs are coming from everywhere. It’s a good time for the band. 

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

I do like to write cryptically when I’m doing lyrics. It’s rarely obvious what I’m going on about. I’ll think of ways and phrases to leave hints, but I like to leave it open to interpretation. The current EP is a break-up album but apart from by listening to ‘Midnight Skies’ I don’t think you’d pick it. The newer stuff since this record is about the clarity that came from letting go and coming out the other end of that breakup experience. Regardless of how well the meanings are hidden it’s always all autobiographical. 

Success, what is the secret to it?

It’s a good question this and it’s one I’ve been asked before. I enjoy answering it. Success is one of those words that takes on different meanings or has different definitions at different stages of your life. To me success (in terms of music) used to mean having millions of fans and playing stadiums. But these days success to me is having the skill set and being able to write and perform the kind of music I love listening to. The moment me and this band were able to make music that we all genuinely and unbiasedly loved that was the moment we thought of ourselves as successful. And from that moment we started to actually get “success”. It’s not a coincidence. Success is being happy with what you’re doing no matter what it brings. And that’s that. 

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

We’re honestly about to go live it now as I mentioned earlier. We’re in the air now heading over to the UK to promote our record. We’re playing some headline shows up and down the county and are playing The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. We’ve just supported The Reytons on their Australian tour too which was amazing. They just landed a UK Number 1 record a few weeks before they came over, so the hype and the crowds were fuckin phenomenal. Great experience that and was a very successful support tour for us a lot came from it. This year in general has just been one big highlight so far. We’re in dreamland. 

 Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? 

I’ve always found Iggy Pop and Lou Reed inspiring. Their sounds have rubbed off on me the most permanently down the years. Growing up in the north of England – Liam Gallagher and his big fat rock n roll attitude was always inspiring. I think everyone round our way wanted to be like him at some point in their lives. Pete and Rob from BRMC inspire me every day. Their songwriting chemistry is stunning. They’ve got so many songs that I love. I listen to them all the time. Their effortlessness I think is stunning. 

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

When we get back in Australia, we’re booked in to record two follow up singles. I can tell you the song titles are “7 year switch blade” and “Goodbye Riley”. Both very different songs but have the Cartel stamp all over them. Good tunes! 

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years? 

I think a lot does change, yes, and will continue to change but our fundamental targets won’t. We really want to get a few LP’s out there. I think to be considered a big or great band you have to have at least 3-4 great full-length albums. So, I see us either working towards that or achieving that. We wanna get to album 4 respectively. That’s our aim. It’s a funny aim which we laugh at because as we speak, we haven’t even got our debut LP out yet but we will and we are always thinking long term and big. So that’s what we’ll be doing. Executing that 4 album plan and enjoying whatever comes with that. 

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?  

Favourite part is writing and performing the music. It’s such a soul boost. The least favourite part I’d have to say are the hangovers. We’ve had a lot of great gigs lately and ya simply can’t just pack up and go to bed. It gets celebrated every time. 

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

King Stingray, Camp Cope, Pendulum, 

How will you continue appealing to the international market? 

Our label – End Of The Trail Creative and based over in the UK and have links around Europe and in the U.S. The connections and opportunities that have been made available to us have really helped us in growing overseas. We’ve always felt as though we have a sound that would do well overseas which is why it was such an easy decision to sign to a UK label. We feel and see that it’s helping us grow internationally so we’ll continue to do what we’re doing. Healthy long term working relationships are our way forward and always have been. 

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

Honestly, we’re on our own path and we wouldn’t want to collaborate with anyone no matter how big or small. We have our own brand and our own vision, and we don’t want it tampering with. There is no wish list and all we can do is apologise for the boringly blunt answer. 

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps? 

Be ambitious enough to want to take over the world but be down to earth enough to know you have to get better to do so. We say this to ourselves all the time and it keeps us hungry to keep shifting up the levels. We’ll keep this work ethic for as long as we care about being the best we can be. Hopefully forever. 

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

It’s all about the live shows. We’ll play our hearts out for ya and then come down and get pissed with ya. Without you we’d still be jamming out of my garage so please keep coming to our shows it’s you that makes it what they are, not us. We love you for that. X

Any last words?

Buy our merch and vinyl 💋 

Facebook: @bensimpson

Instagram: @chavezcartel

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